Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday, former Egyptian presidential adviser Dr. Khaled Alam El-Din revealed that the “Muslim Brotherhood are drowning” in terms of their administration of the state. The ultra-conservative Alam El-Din, who is a member of the Salafi Nour Party, was fired from his position as presidential adviser on environmental affairs by Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi amid allegations of abuse of office.
Speaking following his controversial dismissal, Dr. Alam El-Din said, “We tried to help them (the Brotherhood) but they refused, we then proposed that they form a government by themselves so that they solely bear responsibility and they also refused this.”
The ruling Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, responded strongly to Dr. Alam El-Din’s accusations, with Freedom and Justice Party spokesman, Dr. Murad Ali, saying “We are focusing on the parliamentary elections. Our difference of opinion is natural and not surprising.”
This contentious division amongst Egypt’s Islamists is reportedly over the Supreme Constitutional court’s rejected of an election law presented by the Islamist-dominated parliament. The court has called for a number of amendments to the law in a move that could delay the forthcoming elections and prolong the tense political atmosphere taking root in the country.
Egypt’s political scene is concerned over the unprecedented violence seen in the country since the January 25 revolution, as well as the divisions within the ranks of the country’s Islamist political forces, particularly the Salafi Nour Party and the Muslim Brotherhood and presidency. Alam El-Din’s dismissal became even more contentions after presidential adviser Bassem Zarka—also a member of the Nour Party—resigned in solidarity with his fellow presidential aide. Alam El-Din appeared alongside Zarka in a televised press conference on Monday during which he denied abusing office and broke down in tears, demanding an apology from the Egyptian president. The former presidential adviser characterized his dismissal as “political.”
Responding to a question put to him by Asharq Al-Awsatat this press conference, Dr. Alam El-Din said, “The Muslim Brotherhood are drowning, they cannot deal with the challenges facing the country.”
He asserted that the Nour Party “is extending a helping hand to the Brotherhood in order to rescue the country and save them (the Brotherhood) at the same time, until they grasp the danger of their practices which are only serving to increase the political crisis in the Egyptian street” adding “however they (the Brotherhood) do not accept this.”
He also revealed that the Nour Party had proposed to withdraw from government so that the Muslim Brotherhood would be solely responsible for decision-making and resolving the current situation, however the Freedom and Justice Party rejected this.
Dr. Alam El-Din emphasized that he and Bassem Zarka had agreed to resign from their posts as presidential advisers more than two weeks in protest to the manner in which the presidential advisory body was being utilized. He said, “We were not being consulted in any way, while whatever actions we took were criticized.” He also clarified that Zarka had requested that they postpone this measure until they could present it to the Nour Party presidential council for approval.
Responding to a question regarding whether this Nour Party—Muslim Brotherhood dispute is over the Salafists position towards dialogue with the opposition National Salvation Front, Alam El-Din stressed that the national dialogue initiative was being welcomed by all national political forces. He added that the Nour Party had cooperated and coordinated with the Brotherhood over the constitution and constitutional referendum, confirming that “we are driven by legitimate interests and the interests of the country as a whole, and they (the Brotherhood) are well aware of this.”
Freedom and Justice Party spokesman, Dr. Murad Ali, told Asharq Al-Awsat that any tension or division among the country’s Islamist forces does not involve the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing. He confirmed that the major parties involved in this are the presidency and the presidential advisory body. He also clarified that the Freedom and Justice Party is only concerned with ensuring that innocent people are not falsely condemned and that corruption—if uncovered—is not swept under the carpet.
Commenting on the escalating divisions between the Freedom and Justice Party and the Nour Party, Dr. Ali said that such differences of opinion are natural and not surprising. He added that the Nour Party previously competed against the Muslim Brotherhood in the previous parliamentary and presidential elections which did not hinder future cooperation and coordination between the two parties.
As for the reservations expressed by the Freedom and Justice Party towards the Nour Party’s meeting with opposition National Salvation Front and whether this is a reason for the recent division, Murad said, “We do not judge anybody else’s intentions.”
Responding to the Nour Party’s proposal to withdraw from government, leaving government responsibility solely on the Muslim Brotherhood’s shoulders, Dr. Ali told Asharq Al-Awsat: “How can we form a government, then change it 40 days after the parliamentary elections?” He added that Egyptian society and the international community would view continuous changes in Egypt’s government a as a sign of instability. He also clarified that the Freedom and Justice Party is focused on preparing for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, adding that this is something that all national political parties should be doing.